Seasonal depression is a reality. If you're in the throes, it's time to take it seriously and simplify.
Here are ways to make sure you get up, get going, and achieve the sense of self-worth that comes with accomplishment.
And remember, spring is coming soon.
Beginning first thing in the morning and continuing all day, heed this advice:
1) Good Morning!: Set an alarm to awaken you on time.
2) Get Back to Basics: Make the bed, take a shower, check your schedule, and plan to be available, on time, and responsible in the workplace, at your recovery meetings and for the people in your life.
3) Let the Sun Shine: Go outside, or if it's too cold, sit in front of a full-spectrum light for 10 to 20 minutes. (This requires buying one. If you suffer from seasonal depression, you need it.)
3) Get Your Injection of Inspiration: Check out reneweveryday.com. Do your daily readings. Listen to motivational material. Put your mind in the moment.
4) What's the Workout: You have one planned, right? No? Get to it. There are all the physical benefits. And there's also this fact: Exercise produces hormones and other chemicals that relieve pain, reduce stress, enhance the immune system and lift symptoms of depression and anxiety. Simply put: Movement equals endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good. 'Nuff said.
5) Be Social: This doesn't mean staring at your Facebook page all day. It means actually seeing and talking to people: work colleagues, family, friends, your therapist …
6) Speaking of Your Therapist: You have one, right? Cognitive behavioral and other forms of therapy are powerful tools in thwarting the negative train of thoughts that feeds depression.
7) Whatcha Eating?: What you eat affects not only how you function physically, but also mentally and emotionally. A steady diet of sugar and caffeine will make you feel worse by creating extreme mood and energy swings — promise. Whole foods are full of nutrients and vitamins that ward off depression. News flash: This is not a news flash.
8) Busy, Busy, Busy: Not working today? Unemployed? (Ouch.) You're not off the hook. Get out of your head. Read, draw, knit, go to the park and watch children play. Do anything to shift your focus from how badly you are feeling.
9) Get Your Ha-Has On: You have to find reasons to laugh, even when you don't feel like it. Turn up the sound on a funny podcast. Go to the theater and see a comedy, or watch one at home. Five classic comedic films to consider from the top of the ImDb list?
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)
“Young Frankenstein” (1974)
“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964)
10) Shhhhh … It's Quiet Time: You must meditate. This will ground you. Meditation is yet another tool for getting out of your head. And when practiced regularly, it is the great stress and depression reliever. Find guides to help you learn to sit and meditate, for just 10 minutes at first. Itís simple and as you progress, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.